A New Way of Thinking About Complications of Prematurity

Tiffany A. Moore, Ann M. Berger, Margaret E. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

The morbidity and mortality of preterm infants are impacted by their ability to maintain physiologic homeostasis using metabolic, endocrine, and immunologic mechanisms independent of the mother's placenta. Exploring McEwen's allostatic load model in preterm infants provides a new way to understand the altered physiologic processes associated with frequently occurring complications of prematurity such as bronchopulmonary dysplasia, intraventricular hemorrhage, necrotizing enterocolitis, and retinopathy of prematurity. The purpose of this article is to present a new model to enhance understanding of the altered physiologic processes associated with complications of prematurity. The model of allostatic load and complications of prematurity was derived to explore the relationship between general stress of prematurity and complications of prematurity. The proposed model uses the concepts of general stress of prematurity, allostasis, physiologic response patterns (adaptive-maladaptive), allostatic load, and complications of prematurity. These concepts are defined and theoretical relationships in the proposed model are interpreted using the four maladaptive response patterns of repeated hits, lack of adaptation, prolonged response, and inadequate response. Empirical evidence for cortisol, inflammation, and oxidative stress responses are used to support the theoretical relationships. The proposed model provides a new way of thinking about physiologic dysregulation in preterm infants. The ability to describe and understand complex physiologic mechanisms involved in complications of prematurity is essential for research. Advancing the knowledge of complications of prematurity will advance clinical practice and research and lead to testing of interventions to reduce negative outcomes in preterm infants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)72-82
Number of pages11
JournalBiological Research for Nursing
Volume16
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

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Keywords

  • allostasis
  • allostatic load
  • complications of prematurity
  • prematurity
  • preterm infant
  • stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Research and Theory

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